Isaac, Taylor and Zachary Hanson were in the recording studio working hard on their second studio album, “This Time Around.” They’d been at it for months now, and although all three loved this process more than anything else in the world, it was exhausting sometimes, and today tempers were wearing thin. On this particular day they’d been working on one specific song for hours and it was not going well.
Primarily it wasn’t going well because Zac had run out of confidence. It was driving Taylor crazy and he was clearly losing patience with his younger brother. Zac had a habit of stressing out about not being good enough at singing harmony, especially compared to Taylor. Taylor, on the other hand, totally disagreed with him and felt instead, that this was simply Zac’s excuse for not trying hard enough. Tay had already expended loads of energy today trying to gently and patiently boost Zac’s belief in himself, but it was a losing battle and Tay was growing dangerously frustrated. He could feel himself getting close to blowing a fuse. This in turn only made Zac more tense and more likely to make mistakes. It was a vicious circle. And Ike was just plain worn out from trying to manage the growing intensity of emotion between his bickering siblings. He was beginning to wish their father was here. He knew he’d put a stop to all this pretty quickly - and firmly! Not that he wanted to see Tay or Zac get in trouble, but really, this was getting to be too much. Ike unexpectedly shivered as he was hit with a feeling of déjà vu.
Over and over the three of them sang a particular harmony section, and time and time again Zac screwed it up. Taylor was now absolutely convinced his little brother was doing it on purpose just to prove his point. When they tried it once again and Zac made the same mistake for the umpteenth time, Taylor had finally had enough. He lost it. Completely uncharacteristically he yanked his headphones off his head and slammed them on the floor. Then he turned to face Zac screaming, “You are a complete fuck-up, Zac. Do you have any talent at all? Jesus Christ! What the hell’s wrong with you?”
There was a moment of absolute stillness. The two brothers stared at each other, Taylor seething and Zac’s eyes wide with shock. His brother had just told him he had no talent! At least that’s what Zac had heard. Not to mention the fact that his brother had also just used a whole slew of words which were completely forbidden in their family – especially when aimed directly at someone like that, and in such an extremely nasty tone of voice. In addition, Taylor had quite possibly ruined a very expensive piece of recording equipment with his little temper tantrum – a remarkably unusual thing for him to do because of his deep respect for all things musical.
“Jordan Taylor Hanson!” their father’s angry voice bellowed over the sound system. Taylor froze. He hadn’t known his father was in there. When had he come in? His entire body seemed to shut down at once – all except his heart which was pounding as loud and as hard as a jackhammer. Taylor’s mind suddenly flashed back to another eerily similar and equally alarming scene that had occurred almost exactly three years ago. The same one Ike had just remembered as well.
The boys had been in the recording studio working on their first studio album, “Middle of Nowhere,” at the time. Ike was 15, Tay was 13, and Zac was 10. In an almost identical set of circumstances, Tay had lost it with Zac over the same issue – Zac’s frustrating false sense of insecurity, which would lead him to make mistake after mistake when Taylor felt he should just work harder. When Taylor had berated Zac one too many times, particularly after already being warned, and used an unacceptably nasty tone to boot, his father’s voice had come roaring over the speaker just like now.
Tay swallowed hard at the memory. He was beginning to sweat and tremble.
He remembered how his father had burst into the studio from the control room and strode furiously over to him, picking up a ruler that was lying on the counter as he came. Taylor had backed up out of sheer terror, which was a total no-no in their family. His father had grabbed him roughly, and right then and there, in front of his brothers, their record producer, and several other tech people, had spanked him hard a dozen times with that stinging ruler. Not satisfied with the effect, he had then dragged Taylor over to a chair, yanked down his pants and taken him across his knees. Taylor had been overwhelmed with embarrassment. Pulling his underpants down as well his father had then given him a full-out bare-bottomed spanking that left Taylor gasping and crying and pleading for him to stop. Their father had never used a ruler on any of them before and it hurt more than his hand and the hairbrush combined!
The lecture his father delivered afterwards was nearly as blistering as the spanking had been. And after that was over, he’d put Taylor in the corner right there in the studio and made him stand there for nearly 20 minutes while his brothers worked with their producer on another part of the song. It had been humiliating beyond words. To top it off, when his father finally let him out of the corner he was forced to apologize to everyone – Zac especially, but Ike and everyone else too, since they’d all been adversely affected by his inappropriate behavior and the resulting unpleasant scene that had ensued.
Worse even yet, however, was how long it had taken his brother to forgive him for what he had said. And this time, Taylor knew, it would take him much longer - if ever. This time he had said something so much worse. He didn’t mean it though. Not at all. He’d just lost his temper and said the first thing that came to mind. He got in trouble a lot for shooting off at the mouth like that. When would he ever learn? If anything, he sometimes felt Zac actually had the most natural talent of the three of them. He was even a bit jealous of him at times. This was why he would get so utterly frustrated when Zac acted like he was incompetent. How would he ever be able to convince Zac that he really didn’t mean it? Taylor was shaking all over. He could feel the tears of shame and fear rising and it was taking all he had to keep them from spilling over.
His father opened the door between the two rooms and entered the studio. There was an almost tangible silence. Then his father commanded, “Taylor, come here!”
Taylor gulped. “Dad, he …,” he started to protest, but quickly stopped himself. Attempting to get out of trouble by blaming someone else was absolutely the worst possible tactic and he knew it. But it was too late. The words had already slipped out and the flare of anger he saw in his father’s eyes told him it hadn’t gone unnoticed.
“Now!” his father demanded, even more furious than before. Taylor knew exactly what was about to happen and he was nearly paralyzed with panic at the thought. The only questions remaining were simply where and how bad. He tried to breathe in to give himself the needed oxygen to move but it was virtually impossible. His chest was just too constricted. Slowly he forced himself to put one foot in front of the other. It was excruciatingly effortful. He could feel his brothers’ eyes on him, as well as the discomfort of everyone on the other side of the glass partition in the control booth. Worse, he was sick with shame at what he’d said to Zac. He’d have to worry about that later, however, as he was rapidly nearing his father’s reach.
Then he saw it - the unusual ruler in his father’s hand. It was 18 inches long, an inch and a half wide, and was made out of wood. Where had that come from? After that first time his father had never again used a ruler to spank either him or his brothers. Tay had always assumed it was because he knew just how truly painful it was. Apparently, now he was about to face its dreadful sting once again. The realization made his heart race even harder than it already was. He felt like it might just explode right out of his chest.
In an almost identical repeat of three years earlier, his father reached out, grabbed him roughly by the upper arm, and laid right into his backside with the nasty ruler. Tay gasped and tried to keep from yelling. His control was quickly slipping away though and whimpers and moans began to escape. The thought of all the people in the control room watching his humiliation made his stomach churn. And he didn’t know what to do with his right hand which so desperately wanted to reach back and protect his bottom from the assault. Knowing that would only result in further punishment, he did the only other thing he could think of and hung onto his father’s hand where it clutched his left arm painfully. Somehow that gave him a sense of security. He couldn’t explain it.
His father spanked him hard ten times, then turned him around harshly, and holding him by his shoulders, gave him a sound shaking, his newly layered locks flying back and forth. “Who do you think you are to speak to your brother like that, young man?” he demanded. Taylor cowered at his father’s fury, fearing that his father might actually slap his face, he was so angry. He’d only ever been slapped a few times and it was considered about the worst thing his parents would do. They had to be really, really furious.
“Being deliberately cruel and using language like that is simply unacceptable and you know that. Just who do you think you are? You have no right to treat anyone like that – or any thing. You may have even just broken that headset with your little outburst!” his father berated him hotly. “That is deplorable behavior and you know it. It will not be tolerated and you are going to be punished severely for this. You’re coming with me right now!” And with that he pulled Taylor out of the studio and down the hall toward the break room.
His father’s ominous words seemed to knock the wind right out of him. He was having a hard time catching his breath as his father dragged him along, the sound and feel of the ruler smacking his bottom were still vibrating inside him. He was in full-blown panic. He had that strange feeling of being removed from his own body and yet, at the same time, all his senses seemed heightened beyond reason; it was what he imagined a wild animal must feel like when scared to death.
As his present run of bad luck would have it, when they reached the break room there was someone in there eating his lunch. Taylor immediately identified him as an assistant from the recording company, and he ducked his head, hoping desperately that the guy wouldn’t know who he was. That was highly unlikely, however, and deep down Taylor knew it. Hanson, and especially Taylor, was the talk of the studio right now.
His father stopped and collected himself, then cleared his throat and as calmly as his anger would allow, said, “Pardon me. Would you mind excusing us for a few minutes? I have a very badly behaved son here who needs a good, sound spanking.” Taylor’s cheeks flamed hot and red at his father’s deliberately needling words.
The guy was quite startled by the unusual request, but nodded, and looking noticeably uncomfortable, quickly gathered his things. He had recognized Walker Hanson right away and wondered which son he could be referring to. He couldn’t see Taylor because he was pretty much hidden behind the door frame so he just assumed it was Zac since he was the youngest and most notoriously boisterous. Brushing past them as he left he sneaked a good look at the embarrassed boy in question and was quite surprised to see who it was that was about to get his butt busted. The cute heartthrob lead singer! Taylor shuddered as he felt the guy’s eyes on him. Now everyone in the whole company was going to know about his humiliating punishment.
Walker pulled Taylor into the room and right over to the very chair the guy had just vacated. Without another word he sat down and began to unfasten Taylor’s pants. “Please Dad, pleeease,” Taylor begged. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I really am. I won’t do it again. Please. Please don’t do this. Not here. Please. The door’s still open! Daddy, pleeeease.” He sounded pitiful, he knew, but what else could he do? He had to try to stop this. Or, at the very least, get his dad to close the door. He was well aware that the tell-tale sounds of a boy getting a spanking were unmistakable, hard to stifle, and readily traveled far. He’d certainly heard his fair share.
“You should have thought of that before you said what you said, mister,” his father admonished him. “It was uncalled for and completely unacceptable and you know it. And you are going to be spanked good and hard for it. There’s no getting out of it. You know better. Or you should anyway. You’re sixteen years old!”
Taylor couldn’t seem to keep his own hands from interfering with his father’s, despite the very clear rules about this, and this only served to anger Walker more. He grabbed Taylor’s right hand and held it palm up, slapping it sharply with the ruler. Then he did the same with his other. Taylor quickly snatched his burning hands away and put them behind his back, his cheeks flaming even redder now, if that was possible.
With a groan of frustration his father gave an angry tug and Taylor’s pants came down. Tay grabbed for his underwear to keep them from getting dragged down too – at least until he was over his father’s lap. He knew full well that he would be getting this spanking on his bare bottom, open door or not. His behavior had been too inexcusable and his father was too irate to give him a break like that.
With a sharp jerk, his father put Taylor across his knees. Tay was so tall now that his feet still touched the floor in this position. The thought of this made his stomach lurch with shame. How was it possible that he had once again ended up in this sorry situation? When was he going to be too big, too old for a spanking, he moaned silently? He searched frantically trying to find a hand hold that would offer some sense of security. Then he cringed as he felt his bottom being bared. “Oh god,” he moaned as he squeezed his eyes tight shut and clenched every muscle in his body.
The ruler struck with a resounding smack. Taylor yelped in agony. He quickly clamped his mouth tight shut, however. He desperately didn’t want anyone in the building to hear his pathetic cries. He endured a half dozen sizzling spanks that way before a choked moan was literally forced from his throat. He broke down then and started to bawl and beg, no longer able to care that the door was still open and everyone could probably hear.
“Ohhh (spank), ohhhh (spank), OWW (spank),” he sobbed. “Please (spank), please (spank), please (spank), Daddy (spank), pleeeease (spank)! I’ll (spank) be good (spank), I promise (spank), I … (spank), I … (spank). Ohhh (spank), it hurts!” He kicked and squirmed and struggled hard against the pain but his father held him fast and didn’t falter even once. He spanked Taylor’s blazing bottom until it was nearly blistered and Taylor was out of breath and panting. Then, as he finally began to slow to the finish, he started a searing lecture, underscoring nearly every word with a scorching smack.
“You (spank) are going (spank) to learn (spank), young (spank) man (spank), once (spank) and (spank) for all (spank), that (spank) that kind (spank) of behavior (spank) HAS (#SPANK#) SEVERE (#SPANK#) CONSEQUENCES (#SPANK#)!!” Those three final smacks were the worst ones of all and made Taylor wail loudly and miserably.
When his father finally stopped spanking him, Taylor just hung there listlessly, sobbing and whimpering and completely spent. All he could do was wait for his father to allow him to get up and, hopefully then, somehow, someway, reclaim what was left of his dignity. After a moment his father carefully pulled his son’s underpants back up and then reached down and did the same with his pants. Taylor took that as his cue and gingerly pushed himself backwards off his father’s lap. He knelt there on the floor beside his father’s chair with his face buried in his hands, looking and feeling every bit the sinner trying to repent. His mind was swimming with horrible thoughts - how many people had heard what had just happened - oh god, how many people saw? And worse yet, what was Zac thinking right now? Instead of gradually calming down he was actually starting to sob harder. His father was confused and concerned.
“Taylor, Taylor, calm down son. It’s over now. The spanking’s over,” he said soothingly. But Taylor seemed to sob even harder at his words. His father let him cry himself out for a few more moments, then tried again. “Taylor, hey son, what’s the matter? What’s going on?”
Taylor slowly raised his swollen, shiny, wet eyes from his hands and looked at his father. “Daddy,” he sobbed, “how am I ever going to make this up to Zac? I hurt him so badly. I didn’t mean it. He’ll never forgive me, never!” And he buried his face in his hands and broke down once again.
Walker swelled with pride for his son. He was proud because Taylor wasn’t just feeling sorry for himself for having been caught and severely spanked, but instead was profoundly worried about his brother and how he would ever make amends. Walker nodded with understanding and slowly rose. Then he pulled his trembling son to his feet and enveloped him in a warm, consoling hug - Taylor’s face, once again buried in his hands, was pressed hard to his father’s strong chest while Walker gently rubbed Taylor’s back. He even stroked his son’s poor stinging bottom, which was literally radiating heat through his jeans. Taylor didn’t feel he deserved his father’s loving ministrations yet but he moaned with gratitude all the same.
They stood like that for a bit. Then his father held Taylor back at arm’s length and, looking him hard in the eyes, began to lecture him. If Taylor was expecting comforting words he was sorely disappointed. “This is not the first time you’ve treated Zac this way,” he scolded, giving Tay a little shake for emphasis. “Do you remember another incident that was remarkably similar a few years back?” Taylor nodded miserably. “You have to learn to control that nasty little tongue of yours, young man. It gets you into a lot of trouble. In fact, if you weren’t in the middle of recording vocal parts this week I’d march you right over to that sink, grab a bar of soap and wash your mouth out but good!” Taylor hated this particular form of punishment and Walker knew it and he wanted to be sure his naughty son understood he was getting a break. “You have a responsibility, whether you like it or not – as the older brother, as the lead singer, and as the most publicly acknowledged and respected in the band – to make sure Zac is supported and encouraged. Not shot down like you just did. Do you understand me?”
Taylor swallowed hard and nodded again, fighting back another surge of tears brought on by the shame his father’s words had rekindled. He knew his father was right. He could feel sorry for himself all he wanted but it wouldn’t change anything. As it had turned out, by the general public he was considered the most popular and sought after member of the band, and assumed to be the leader, and if he wanted his brothers in the band with him he was simply going to have to acknowledge that and own the responsibility of it. It wasn’t a solo act and he didn’t want it to be. It was a threesome. Taylor didn’t want to go it alone. Of that he was very sure. He wanted his brothers there with him every step of the way. They were a band. They wrote their songs together, played their individual instrument parts, and sang in amazing harmony. He knew now that he was just going to have to work harder to keep them feeling included and confident and supported. And, he was going to have to make sure he proved to Zac, once and for all, just how talented he really was.
“You ready to go and apologize to everyone?” his father asked. Taylor wiped his sticky face with his hands and took a deep breath. Then he nodded with a shaky sigh. “Yes, sir. I’m ready. Let’s go.”